I started to come across the name Ygfan quite often these past months: whenever I was checking my social media profile, there was at least one mention of this name or of the band’s soon to be released album, Hamvakból. Then, on June the 2nd, I remembered that Ygfan will play in Budapest, in a club located only 5 minutes from our place, so we decided to go and see what was the thing with this band.
Ygfan released Hamvakból almost a week before that concert, so this release show was the best opportunity to buy the album and listen to some of the new tracks live. But since I am not doing a review for that concert here, I will try to describe in my own words the impressions I got after listening to Ygfan‘s new work.
Well, let me start with the physical copy: the album came out on the 28th of May, released on digipak cd by the Transylvanian terrorists Sun And Moon Records, while the tape version ( 271 regular pieces and 21 die hard copies, with patch and slipcase) was the responsibility of the Hungarian underground label Fekete Terror Productions.
This review is done for the “regular” tape version, which looks very professional, with the lyrics included in the thick booklet, so I truly encourage you to buy one of the two versions available, both are really worth your money.
Hamvakból (From the Ashes), is the band’s second release, after the Köd album, which came out 2 years ago. There are 7 tracks on this album, with a duration of almost 45 minutes, but these songs are not that easy to listen to. They require a certain mood and state of mind, to really feel the heaviness inside.
Even if some black metal elements are quite obvious on this album (especially Csendben and the last 2 tracks, Ygfan and Memento Mori, are the best example), overall, the 7 compositions are much more than a simple genre defined tracks.
Even if I want to, I would have quite a difficult task to place Ygfan‘s music in a certain genre. Of course, if someone really wants to label them, they could be on the safe side just by easily saying that the bands belongs to the post whatever style, even if I do not agree with that.
The tracks featured on Hamvakból are long, introspective, emotional and aggressive, without losing its influences from a plethora of styles. Combining multiple elements together, Ygfan created a metal concoction which envelops you, the listener, in a shroud of melancholy, meditation, despair or loss, depending on your feelings at the very moment of the listening session.
What is certain about Ygfan is that their music is not happy nor joyful at all, so it’s not suitable for a spin when you are in a good mood. It can have secondary effects on your well being, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The instrumentation is as complex and precise as a surgeon’s scalpel, with the drum pattern carefully holding and building the atmosphere, like a solid foundation the whole monument is constructed upon (Hamvak Alatt). The guitars are complementing each other, alternating mellow riffs and distorted tunes with melancholic rhythms and shy guitar solos (Csendben).
The (black) metal background/influence is quite present in the band’s compositions, even if they do not fall under the traditional black metal standards, but that’s where the true skills of the 4 musicians enter the picture, as they manage to use this primeval and extreme essence, transforming it in something more complex and deeper than a regular black metal band.
Sometimes Hamvakból resembles Agalloch‘s Ashes Against the Grain album (just listen to Kezdetben and Csendben, they are fucking beautiful), mostly due to the hypnotizing vocal parts and the sorrowful melodies. Zsolt‘s lamenting, clean voice, which suddenly shifts to some angry, harsh growls when you least expect it, completes very well the rest of the instruments, adding a dramatic effect on the album’s overall atmosphere.
The whole layout of the album, with its colors and blurred images contained in the booklet, is creating a beautiful landscape with the help of the musical prowess of the four band members.
The painting that is Hamvakból is rich in images and sounds which are fueled by the melancholic aura of the compositions.
I can certainly say that with this album Ygfan have created an emotional soundtrack for the long walks in the darkness of your soul, where the solitude and the gloom linger at your every footstep.
As weird as that may sound, it definitely works for me, whenever I listen to this beautiful album I get wrapped in a shroud of depression, no matter how hard I try to fight it. I consider Ygfan‘s music a way to escape from the everyday world, a perfect vessel to channel different states of mind, especially if you look to drown yourself in your own thoughts.
If that was their aim, well, they definitely succeeded at it.
Ygfan – Hamvakból tracklist:
3. Hamvak alatt
7. Memento Mori
Bálint Zsolt – Vocals/Guitar
Szabó Áron – Guitar
Bodor László – Bass
Tóth Bálint – Drums